Drink in God at Living Water
By HOLLY McCRAY
The Living Water new church plant in Glenpool is aptly named. Its search for a location remains fluid. Its people go with that flow, and the "Overflowing Project" is one example.
Participants purposefully share joy through their daily interactions, then report outcomes via social media, and the congregation celebrates.
"There is lots of intentional outreach by this church," said Pastor Heather Scherer. "They’re outward focused. My job’s really to enable and resource and support what they’re passionate about."
Living Water launched two years ago, making and taking sandwiches to transient people at a park.
Already this new United Methodist church family has mucked out flooded homes, mowed lawns, and walked neighborhoods to collect food items. They served java and Jesus as a Christian coffeehouse business.
They pack "blessing bags" — basic necessities, gum, and granola bars — to carry in their cars and pass out as needed. They offer the use of a shower and washer/dryer for displaced persons.
The church received a 2015 New People, New Places grant of $6,400 to offer parenting and financial classes.
Inspired by Checotah UMC’s thrift store, they opened one in Glenpool as an outreach and a way to fund ministry.
"My people are so used to doing that they don’t understand why it’s such a big deal," Rev. Scherer said.
"Jesus doesn’t care about whether you sit in church on Sunday morning. What he cares about is what you’re doing to make the world a better place."
She said 135 people call Living Water their church home. Most previously never attended any church or had severed their church connections.
One man began coming after he watched Scherer’s "Faith and Science" sermon series on YouTube.
The pastor has performed six weddings. The youth group has doubled in size this school year.
Scherer identified one constant among the worshippers. "Everyone who visits has gone online and read our website. It’s a big deal."
This church plant is underwritten by the Conference’s New Faith Communities Ministry Team (formerly Congregational Development). Glenpool’s population has swelled; the 1A school district is now 5A.
For about a year, Living Water has met in its second rented space. Suite C encompasses 5,000 square feet at 519 E. 141st St., Glenpool. Also, the Council Oak District recently began allowing them to use an existing building on 5 acres — the former Glenpool United Methodist Church.
With potential at both sites, life for Living Water seems comparable to Noah’s family aboard the ark. A leadership team is studying pros and cons.
The existing church building is mortgage-free, yet aging. It does have a new roof and glows with promise inside. Volunteers from Tulsa-Asbury UMC have been repainting the interior and refinishing cabinetry.
But the property isn’t a prime location.
Both the Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conferences previously have attempted and failed to establish churches there.
In a shopping plaza, Suite C features lots of glass walls, casual furniture, and airy spaces.
"What they love is the nontraditional setting," Scherer said. Also, "parents couldn’t put kids in a separate space" in the previous location, a coffee house that doubled as worship space.
Youths now have decorated their room with a 232-piece paper chain on which they wrote blessings.
John Wesley’s church plants "looked like this," Scherer mused. "No pews. Nothing was nailed down. It was all used for teaching people, feeding people …"
Monthly rent exceeds $2,000 for Suite C.
"We do want to have a space that we can continue to grow in," the pastor said. "We are working very hard to be sustainable by the time our funding ends from the Conference."
Fabric fish dangle in the children’s space at Living Water UMC, Glenpool. Heather Scherer purchased them on her Wesley pilgrimage in England.
Living Water UMC rents 5,000 square feet of space in a Glenpool shopping plaza.